ALSO READMersal row: Actor Vijay accused of hurting Hindus; what's the controversy about? No floor test in Tamil Nadu Assembly till Sept 20: HC Madras HC stays RoC order disqualifying individual director Karti Chidambaram barred from going abroad; SC stays Madras HC's order Vijay Mallya held guilty of contempt; SC asks him to appear in person
The Madras High Court on Friday dismissed a petition seeking a direction to CBFC to revoke the censor certificate issued to actor Vijay's movie 'Mersal'. A two-member bench of the Madras High Court dismissed a petition filed by lawyer A Asvasthaman saying freedom of expression is same for everyone and it cannot be suppressed. "It is for the viewers to take a decision on whether to watch a film or not. It is the work of fiction and not reality," the bench said. "In a mature democracy voices of dissent cannot be suppressed," the bench added. The judges questioned the petitioner on how the film dialogues would affect the lives of the common man. In this context, the High Court said, "Why was there no complaint against smoking and drinking in films or about the projection of LGBT? A film is only an imaginative story and it is not real life. If someone doesn't like a film, a person can refrain from viewing it.
The freedom of expression is there for all."The controversy around the movie started with a title dispute, with a producer filing a petition in the Madras High Court claiming copyright over the title of the film. Next, the Animal Welfare Board refused to provide NOC to the film, claiming that the makers failed to provide necessary papers. The movie, which was released on Diwali, had few scenes related to the problems of Goods and Services Tax (GST), Digital India campaign, healthcare and corruption in the country. The Tamil Nadu unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded the removal of certain dialogues, which take a dig at the GST and Digital India programme. The party members also protested against the film's actor Vijay. H Raja, a national secretary of the BJP and Tamil Nadu leader went a step ahead by bringing the actor's religion to the fore. He tweeted a picture of Vijay's voter ID card which has his full name, C Joseph Vijay. Commenting on a dialogue in the movie, Raja suggested that the actor should’ve said “build hospitals before churches” and not used the word temples.